By any measure the housing market is on fire and and more than a little crazy.   It's good if you're selling, not so good if you are trying to break into the housiing market. Excitement, stress, anxiety, hope...all these emotions are engaged and more when set out on a house hunt.  The first thing you need to do is figure out how much house you can afford.

How To Determine What You Can Afford

"When determining what home price you can afford, a guideline that’s useful to follow is the 36% rule. Your total monthly debt payments (student loans, credit card, car note and more), as well as your projected mortgage, homeowners insurance and property taxes, should never add up to more than 36% of your gross income (i.e. your pre-tax income). While buying a new home is exciting, it should also provide you with a sense of stability and financial security."

Once you know your "affordable window of opportunity" you seriously start your search. Another aspect to consider is not just how much you have to spend but where will that money go the farthest.  The Top Three communities in Washington are Connell, Hoquiam and Finley but two of the state's Top Ten most affordable communities are located in the Yakima Valley.

"The most affordable places were those in which total housing costs were smallest compared to the median income in each area. Each city was then indexed on a scale from 0 to 100, with the most affordable location receiving a score of 100."

Yakima County's Most Affordable Communities

At number 7 on the list is our neighbor to the south, Union Gap. Using SmartAssets calculations including closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates, a national average was determined and set at 100%.  Union  Gap came in at 42.03 of the national average.  The other county community on the more affordable list is Toppenish at 41.19.


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